An educator by profession, Sonia’s foray into the writing world was by a fortunate stroke of serendipity. While on a break from work in 2016, she was approached by a children’s newspaper to write and translate for them. A closet writer until then, it was almost her ‘if wishes were horses’ moment and she grabbed the opportunity with both hands. It was at Keekli that she learnt the basics of the writing and the publishing industry. Soon, she branched out into the wide world of webzines and began to pen for platforms such as Momspresso and Women’s Web until she found a place of her own. In the year 2018, Sonia started her own blog called ‘A Hundred Quills’ which is a repository of soulful poetry, flash fiction and personal narratives in English and in Hindi. She also works as a freelance copyeditor and proofreader for several publishing houses.

In a journey spanning a little over four years, Sonia has won several online writing contests and was a finalist in the humour and poetry categories at the ‘Orange Flower Awards-2020’ hosted by Women’s Web. She was also part of the anthology ‘Poems from 30 Best Poets’ published by Literatures Light in 2019. A collection of her poems titled ‘Life, Women and Everything in Between’ can be found on the Juggernaut platform.

Besides writing Sonia has been passionate about theatre and alternative education. She has been making an effort towards the latter by volunteering for organizations such as Slam Out Loud that promote teaching through art. In a similar endeavour, she also launched her Ebook ‘Unlocked- Historical Tales in Verse’ during the Blogchatter Ebook carnival 2020.

An enthusiastic traveller and nature lover, she calls solitary, long walks her manna from heaven. Sonia belongs to Shimla and lives in Delhi with her husband and two children.   


Sonia Dogra


This poem is inspired by the series of paintings titled “Ahlam Yoga” by Ahlam Abbas. 


IGNITE (Featured poem)

"Ahlam Yoga" series by Ahlam Abbas

silence sat gingerly

drinking from a cup of tea

lingering on the kitchen table

frittering its flavour gradually


routines lay waste

as the wall clock in haste

emptied time in a trash of screens

blaming embrace for desires unchaste


flustered by inflated viruses

i sought colours of lost irises

gathered in a Rubik’s cube

roads outside growing mournful cypresses*


priesting, flew by the crested hoopoe*

and secretly glistened the morning dew

burning the arts incandescently

the hearth with their warmth imbued


the eyes ached to see

those separated by destiny

their parting like a forever lore

pouring verses for affliction’s company


i journeyed to the inside

with Apollo by my side

striking off what I’m not

to seek who i am tonight


like a muted fly on the wall

must I have watched the tamasha unroll

should I have sunk in this palpable tragedy

riding through flakes up to the fall


just then, unfazed on an orange flower

a wondrous butterfly perched on the bower

my master strokes the canvas filled

works of Matisse* saved the hour


the airbrush and acrylics, a haiku and rhymes

is art, they asked, even worth a single dime…

well…when ruthlessly the mighty oaks, one day fall

a poem silently IGNITEs from within the confines    

* cypresses- symbolic of death and the underworld in classical tradition.

* hoopoe- symbolic of spiritual wisdom

* Matisse- means a free and gentle spirit; stands for French painter and sculptor Henri Matisse, a great lover of poetry



Which of These Will Last?

Which of these will last? I ask

Love, cooped up in pigeonholes

spent in sweeping sprees

in baking and making spaghettis.

Couple games played past midnight

breathing down the other’s neck

each second in time.


Which of these will last? I ask

Love, across masked screens

brooding over lonely cups of coffee,

Holding the gaze to look at that face

on the other side of the touchscreen

facetiously holding back the desire to touch,

Missing the fine fragrance, the body odour

that lingers on after a long embrace.


Which of these will last? I ask

Pruned roses caged in homes

with walls closing in,

Conversations dying slow deaths

in TV screens,

Intertwined fingers attempting to speak

but smothered by love,

asphyxiated, with no space to breathe.


Which of these will last? I ask

Virtual hugs

from across the seas

sealed by closed boundaries,

Love seeks a place to bloom

beyond sturdy gorilla screens

shielding wobbly alliances

pretending to save,

Merely crying

‘no breakage, no breakage’.


Which of these will last? I ask

Which of these will last? I ask



The ‘ charger’ was ready and happily neighed

As a knee-high soldier silently prayed

The invisible army was all set to move

When they heard a loud clatter of hooves.

‘Savdhaan sena!’* the commander bellowed

The enemy seems very close to the willows’

The Marshall and his soldier picked up their swords

Widow makers from nearby trees cleverly stored.


Camouflaged in a thicket, their bearings pretty clear

The Commander in the centre positioned without fear

The fanciful army patiently waited in the wings

Should the Commander fall, it would be called in.

They fought with valour striking the enemy down

Two boys in battered clothes who lived in shanty town

Their horse was a rip-off of the courser light and strong

Their armours bare chests carrying tucked away songs.


And yet they cackled and played and also ran wild

Spun a million stories of unicorns that smiled

They also built an army that stood by their side

Whisked off the enemy which had barged inside.

Grinned like a Cheshire cat to light up the dark

Their eyes like lithe dancers, seemed happy as a lark.

 With everything in nothing they filled their jars with ‘belief’

The mystic healing potion for countless seasons of grief.

* Savdhaan- careful; sena- army


I’d Rather be a Dandelion


I’d rather

be a Dandelion

Caressed by

the unsettled wind

Prodigious child

of the earth

Wandering blithely

on its wings

Not have a care

for the wise to be

I’d choose to live

in dull anonymity

Arise from naught

to be called unruly

And dress up in yellow

a spring so sprightly

I’d grow up in cracks

or jump across lawns

Smell a little sweet

like a childhood song

I know you’d tend

to the roses and the lilies

But I’d still be a Dandelion

and live willfully

Plucked by little hands

I’d sit on a teacher’s desk

To eventually be gone

without remorse or regret

I’d rather be a Dandelion

Oh! So imperfect

I’d rather be a Dandelion

Oh! So imperfect


Remember Love…


Remember love,
That ‘Happily Ever After’
Doesn’t necessarily mean
No gloom at all.


The winds of change
Are preordained
And most likely
To make you trip and fall


Spring is a season love
But it doesn’t rule the roost
Icy winds do blow in time
And winter also gets its due.


You may then, love
Light up the fireside
And know that’s the way
 to keep the warmth.


It’s a constant hanging on
When you are there,
At the end of the rope
And all else is gone.


The belief that it isn’t craggy
Is a bubble in fool’s paradise
Which certainly isn’t to say
That there’s nothing that’s not nice.


Moods may be belligerent
And days all dull and worn
For Arcadia is to hearts
A place fleetingly known.


And yet, those in love, stay on
This I must confess
Because for some reason
They are besotted by this mess.


So, to ensure that the charisma
Of a leaden monotony
Tempts them longer
Than just a while, they…


Remember love,
That ‘Happily Ever After’
Doesn’t necessarily mean
No gloom at all!

Sonia Dogra is paired with Ahlam Abbas. To read more about her, visit Ahlam Abbas.

Poet Statement:

How does a poet become a poet? Is there a date, a time, an ideal place where it all begins?

I don’t remember the first poem I wrote for I scribbled gazillions of words on purposeless sheets of papers and stacked them in a file. It was only when they were typed and compiled by someone dear that I realized I had made poetry.

Poetry is my way to unravel the layers of my subconscious, it’s the pair of glasses I use to view the world and is a reflection of me. I like brevity when it comes to writing or even making conversation. Poetry does that for me.

Ignite and Other Poems’ are a little attempt to light up the world with the words of a poet, particularly at a time when the world seems to be crumbling.

While I like poems to have a rhythm and rhyming is my preferred style, not all poems in the group follow a rhyme scheme. They all, definitely have a pattern. I don’t believe in structures. I believe in flow.

IGNITE based on the work of artist Ahlam Abbas attempts to put to words five of her art pieces that depict life after the Corona Virus. A journey within after solitary confinement and the contribution of art in lighting up life. Symbolism has been used in the poem with the hoopoe symbolic of spiritualism and the cypress denoting death.

‘Which of These Will Last?’ compares love 24/7 in the other’s company and that between lovers separated by the virus. The recurring use of ‘screens’ is deliberate and points to the new normal.

‘The Jar of Belief’, ‘I’d Rather be a Dandelion’ and ‘Remember Love’ offer verses of hope in a fast dwindling world.

Instagram: @soniadogra1979

Twitter: @SoniaDogra16

Blog: A Hundred Quills

Facebook page: A Hundred Quills 

Art & Poem
Video by Anoushka Sunil
Intro clip and thumbnail- Vibhin P C

Introduction video 
Video Edit by Anoushka Sunil
Intro clip and thumbnail- Vibhin P C


Ahlam Abbas from Beirut is paired with Sonia Dogra from Delhi. Ahlam was part of my 2016 exhibition 'Repercussions' as well. She is living in a city that is already in turmoil and distress even before the pandemic began. A beautiful city on the way to ruins by vested interest. It was a task for Ahlam even to film her introduction video as she was residing in her village at the time. She had to travel to the city just to film it and send since she didn’t have Wi-Fi in the village and yet she managed to do so. Sonia is from the land of deodars and Ruskin Bond. If you notice, Ahlam and Sonia have a child-like charm to them! Their eyes sparkle and their smile is pure joy. They have a naïve energy about them that makes their work adorable and elevated. Ahlam’s works are collages and she layers it with paper, tissues and in some earlier works with found elements. There’s a seeming simplicity to both their works but when you observe carefully you will find geographies present there – literally and metaphorically. I found Sonia through ‘Unlocked – Historical Tales in verse’ that she describes as “lyrically rekindles your love for history”. The simplicity of language and yet the value that it adds particularly to children who find history unbearable is what caught my attention. 


  1. Loved the bold colours n strokes in Ahlam's art. The words that flow from Sonia's pen in response are equally powerful and stirring. The poetic interpretations of visual stimuli is something I have been working with, and I admire how you have added your voice to the portraits. Wonderful work, both Ahlam and Sonia!

  2. Lovely images, in words and paint.

  3. Loved the way Sonia has depicted life. The words used depict every situation well. A wonderful amalgamation of colour and verse which can help IGNITE a depressed soul.


  4. It’s so heartening to read these splendid pieces of poetry in such times of despair!
    While ‘Which of these will last’ conveys the topical dilemma of the lovers, ‘Remember love’ ascertains the unwavering nature of love beyond ephemeral vacillations. Such a merger of pragmatism in words and vivid imagery is highly applaudable.
    My heartiest congratulations to Ms. Sonia Dogra and Ms. Ahlam Abbas for this beautiful collaboration ensuing a chef-d’oeuvre.

  5. All I can say is-It was a pure delight to admire the beauty of the artwork by Ahlam and appreciate an equally amazing interpretation by Sonia!!

  6. Beautiful poems complimented to the beautiful art work

  7. I am a art lover in every way and this pair surly stands out the very definition of art that art has no boundaries i amazed by both and find hard to differentiate whether the words were put first or art drawn.

    1. So nice of you to say that. Glad you felt that way.

  8. I am a art lover in every way and this pair surly stands out the very definition of art that art has no boundaries i amazed by both and find hard to differentiate whether the words were put first or art drawn.

  9. Have always admired Sonia's poetry. The words flow like a stream and leave an indelible impact on the reader with their depth and mellifluous rhythm. Loved how Sonia has illustrated the talented young artist Ahlam's beautiful art-works with her word-art. Loved the poem 'ignite'. Indeed, artistic endeavours may not always yield high dividends in terms of material riches but they offer immeasurable spiritual fulfilment, and become light in the dark times . All five poems are so profound and impactful. Looking forward to refilling my soul's cup with the warmth of art at 'Ignite'. This is indeed a brilliant initiative.

    1. Moonmoon thank you for your patience and time and for visiting. This is huge encouragement.

  10. Beautifully depicted... Sonia you have been always so good with words.... exact, wonderful and just perfect. Congratulations dear... Great combination of the two.

  11. Soniya’s words weave magic!! A formidable combination of lyrical paintings for art and poetry connoisseurs! The paintings are vividly colorful and the poems exemplify their aura! Kudos to Sonia and Ahlam for the winning pieces of creative aplomb !! I loved all of them to the core of their aesthetic juices overflowing lavishly!!- Daisy

    1. This coming from an equally amazing poet means much. Thank you!

  12. I always love what you write. These poems are great. Looking forward to more of your work.

  13. Sonia is a wonderful poet. Love the portrayal of life in I'd rather be a dandelion.

  14. Sonia, I have always been inspired by your writing. Loved the vibrant and colourful exhibition of magical poetry that so well fit the beautiful art work of the brilliant artist.

  15. Sonia , I have always been inspired by your writing. Loved the powerful display of magical poetry that so well fits the amazing work of art.

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  17. You had me at 'silence sat gingerly' and I was sold at 'emptied time in a trash of screens'.
    'Which of these will last' captures our times so beautifully.
    'I'd rather be a dandlion', 'Remember love' ... it's difficult to pick a favorite. You are absolutely magical Sonia.
    Aso Ahlam please take a bow to create such a beautiful work.
    IGNITE is a lovely initiative and the work that's being shared here is awesome

    1. Shivani such a pleasure to read these words of encouragement from you. Thank you!

  18. I`d rather be a dandelion too!! Sonia you are a gifted poet..


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